Rebecca Wanzo, professor and chair of women, gender and sexuality studies in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has won two major awards in the field of comic book studies.
Wanzo’s “The Content of Our Caricature: African American Comic Art and Political Belonging” won the 2021 Eisner Award for Best Academic/Scholarly Work. Named for pioneering comics creator and graphic novelist Will Eisner, the Eisner Awards are among the comic book industry’s most prestigious honors, sometimes known as “the Oscars of comics.”
In addition, Wanzo recently won the 2021 Charles Hatfield Book Prize from the Comics Studies Society (CSS). The first professional society of comics scholars in the United States, the CSS is committed to the critical study of comics; improving comics teaching; and engaging in open and ongoing conversations about the comics world.
Published by New York University Press, “The Content of Our Caricature” explores the long aesthetic tradition of African American cartoonists making use of racist caricature. Moving beyond binaries of positive and negative representation, Wanzo investigates how Black cartoonists turned the visual grammar of caricature on its head, deploying it to criticize constructions of ideal citizenship and the exclusion of African Americans from such citizenship. The book previously won the Katherine Singer Kovács Book Award for outstanding scholarship in cinema and media studies from the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.